The St. Charles Rotary Club recently celebrated "Citizens of the Year" and "Young People of the Year" at their annual banquet.
Winners of "Citizens of the Year" awards included a group of local historians and preservationists who collectively authored St. Charles Parish Louisiana - A Pictorial History and high school students from both Hahnville High School and Destrehan High School were named "Young People of the Year."
The group of authors included Joan Becnel, Suzanne Friloux, Marilyn Richoux and the deceased Fay Loque, whose husband Warren Loque received the award in her honor.
The group worked for over five years to produce a pictorial history that details 300 years of history of St. Charles Parish. The book, released in 2010, was met with enthusiasm from the local community and other historical societies upon its publication.
The authors themselves have deep roots in the community.
Becnel is a direct descendant of one of the first families to settle in the German Coast. The Destrehan native was born in 1943. She graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Elementary and High School and the University of Southwest Louisiana at Lafayette. Becnel worked in the oil and gas industry in New Orleans, Lafayette and New Jersey prior to employment with the St. Charles Parish government. She served as the Parish Council secretary until 2000 when she retired after 25 years of public service. Becnel is a member of Our Lady of the Most Holy Roasry Catholic Church. Becnel has a son, Greg, and a daughter Jenny, six grandchilden and resides in Hahnville with her husband Roland.
Friloux is a graduate of St. Charles Borromeo High School and LSU Baton Rouge where she received a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree in education. She is a retired teacher and administrator from St. Charles Parish Public Schools. Friloux is an active participant in several civic and social groups and is involved in church activities and as a board member of the St. Charles Museum and Historical Association and River Region Arts and Humanities Council. She is also a member of the Ladies Leukemia league, River Road Historical Society, St. Charles Humane Society, Retired Teachers’ of St. Charles Parish and St. Charles Borromeo Church.
Richoux is a lifelong resident of St. Charles Parish and a graduate of Destrehan High School and Meadows Draughan Business College. After retiring from co-owning and managing a retail bridal and formal wear shop and as a community education coordinator, she got involved in historical preservation and founded the St. Charles Historical Foundation where she served as president for 12 years. Richoux is a board member of the St. Charles Museum and Historical Association, former member of the St. Charles Parish Planning and Zoning Commission and a member of the St. Charles Parish master Plan Steering Committee. She served as president of the German Coast Farmers’ Market and is a member of the Ladies Leukemia League, St. Charles Borromeo Church choir and other civic and community organizations. She and husband Ralph have three sons, one daughter and eight grandchildren in Destrehan.
Louque died of congestive heart failure shortly before the release of the pictorial history. She was born in Norco and graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Elementary and High School. She retired from the St. Charles Parish Library System after 21 years of service and served as a parish election commissioner for over 43 years and as a historian and genealogist. Louque was the founder of the German-Acadian Coast Historical and Genealogical Society, serving as president for five years, vice-president for 15 years and as a board member. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, River Road Historical Society and founder and historian of Destrehan Descendants Guild for over 25 years. She also organized the Destrehan Family Reunion in 1989 and 1999. Louque was an active member of St. Charles Borromeo Church. She lived in Destrehan with her husband for over 50 years and was the mother of Kim and Hollie Louque Ericksen and grandmother of Ashley and Matthew Erickson.
Those receiving ‘Young People of the Year’ awards were Veronica Hall from Destrehan High School and Shelbi Berthelot from Hahnville High School.
Hall, a Destrehan resident, is an active member of the DHS community where she has been on the varsity soccer team for four years and currently serves as its captain. She also played volleyball for one year, has been a Student Council senator for senator three years, is a two year member of the Beta Club, was a 2012 delegate at the Louisiana Youth Seminar Leadership Program and a Talented Art student through which she was presenter and spokesperson for the Arts Council and had artwork selected for a district rally. She has also mentored incoming freshmen students for the past two years as a Kick Off mentor, belongs to the C.O.S.T. Pro-Life Club March for Life, participated in Trash Bash 2013 and is a junior member of American Legion Auxillary Post 366. In addition, Hall volunteers in homeless outreach in New Orleans and at the Ormond Nursing Home in Destrehan.
Berthelot is a Luling resident and currently belongs to the International Thespian Society, swim team, tennis team, chorus and Talented Theater. In the community she serves as a Special Olympics swim coach, a St. Charles Parish youth tennis coach and a Venture Crew member. In addition, Brethelot also volunteers with the American Diabetes Association where she served as a team captain for a diabetes campaign and is a logistics volunteer for Step Out Walk and Tour de Cure and is a youth ambassador for the American Cancer Society.
All winners of the awards were presented with plaques for their accomplishments in the St. Charles Parish community.